You are on page 1of 4

Dedicated to Ecosystem Protection and Sustainable Land Use Planning +++ Vol. 13 No.

1 +++ Winter 2003

We publish this newsletter four If you are not yet a member of the
times a year to inform the gener- Endangered Habitats League,
ous supporters and other friends please join us in the ongoing
of the Endangered Habitats effort to preserve and protect
League about our activties ENDANGERED the Southern California eco-
in the ecoregion. region’s irreplacable plants,
HABITATS LEAGUE animals and places.
NEWSLETTER
Conservation successes across the Ecoregion— However, the developer had not reckoned with Barham
Ranch stalwarts from the local community. First, Save Barham
San Diego, Orange & San Bernardino Counties Ranch filed suit to block the land transaction, due to circumven-
tion of the California Environmental Policy Act.
Proctor Valley parcels They then undertook a campaign to convince the
to be purchased— owners to sell this property at fair market value to
a conservation the County of Orange, which had offered to buy it.
“dream come true” Confronted with a school district board biased in
In the early 1990’s, the favor of the developer, Save Barham Ranch did
massive Otay Ranch devel- what so few environmental groups ever try, let
opment plan in southern alone succeed in: They persuaded voters to elect
San Diego County missed better officials. Even after this incredible grassroots
crucial opportunities to effort, Save Barham Ranch had to fend off last
protect unique habitat minute threats to the sale.
lands. Proctor Valley was EHL was pleased to assist and support the Barham
among the lands approved Ranch effort at various points along the way. We all
for development — its need to take some pages out of their playbook!
gentle terrain made this Legal settlement will lead to protection
quintessential Southern of rare San Bernardino alluvial fan
California landscape sus- Proctor Valley is home to a population of the endanger- Lytle Creek in San Bernardino County is one of
ceptible to development. ed quino checkerspot. Photo courtesy AEI-CASC Cos.
the few remaining, functional “alluvial fans” in
Vernal pools, coastal sage scrub, perennial grasslands, and oak Southern California. Here, adjacent to the I-15 freeway at the
woodlands—and endangered species such the California gnat- base of the San Bernardino National Forest, are scenic washes
catcher, quino checkerspot butterfly, and San Diego fairy shrimp and floodplains that support the endangered San Bernardino
—all contribute to its biological richness. Proctor Valley, totaling kangaroo rat and specialized alluvial fan sage scrub. Given that
over 3,000 acres, is adjacent the County of San Bernardino has not had the political leader-
or nearby to San Diego’s ship to implement a multiple species plan, and has tradition-
major conservation build- ally approved development in alluvial fan habitat, conserva-
ing blocks — the Multiple tion of these areas has been very problematic.
© FINCH CREEK GAZETTE

Species Conservation When the County approved the Lytle Creek-North devel-
Program (MSCP), the opment in the fan last year, EHL and other groups—Center for
Rancho Jamul Ecological Biological Diversity, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Soci-
Reserve, and the San Diego ety, and Spirit of the Sage Council (the latter of which settled
National Wildlife Refuge. separately)—quickly filed suit under CEQA.
Proctor Valley is essential to
complete the picture.
After years of quiet It takes 30-50 years to go from an acorn
to a mature, magnificent woodland oak.
advocacy, EHL was pleased
to support the Wildlife Conservation Board’s acquisition of
strategic parcels totaling 1,446 acres. Late last year, state and
federal funds were used to buy the land from cooperative willing
sellers. Other parcels should now follow. Long years of commit-
© WILDFLOWER PRODUCTIONS

ment from state and federal wildlife agency personnel led to this
success. We particularly commend the leadership of Diane Jacob,
District Supervisor. The Conservation Land Group ably facili-
tated the transaction.
Barham Ranch Saved
what’s inside? Due to years of intensive,
creative, and plain determined
EHL in the News 2
effort, Save Barham Ranch has Lytle Creek in San Bernardino County—one of the few functional “alluvial
succeeded in its goal of pro- fans” in Southern California—supports at least two endandered species.
Two Orange County tecting these Orange County
canyons under assault 2 Prior to our court date, a concerted effort was made to settle
wildlands. Barham Ranch is
the dispute, not only for the Lytle Creek-North parcel, but
Strong joint effort 508 acres of coastal sage scrub,
stops tollroad rider 2 comprehensively for the landowner’s other holdings in the
chaparral and oak woodland vicinity. The settlement provides for over 1,200 acres of perma-
Riverside Integrated in central Orange County nent habitat conservation, thus protecting much of the highest
Project advances 2 adjacent to Santiago Oaks quality habitat from any development. In addition, the agree-
San Diego govern- Regional Park and the Nature ment includes options to purchase nearly the entire holdings—
ments start to make Reserve of Orange County. In totaling over 2,500 acres—for conservation. It is expected that
a regional plan 2 fact, Barham Ranch was identi- all future litigation will be eliminated, providing certainty to
PV Conservation
fied as a top priority acquisi- all parties.
Plan languishes 3 tion to enhance the Central- We commend the excellent collaboration from the land-
Coastal Natural Community owner, Lytle Development Co., and their commitment to a
Cougar killed in
Conservation Plan (NCCP). comprehensive solution. While it will be a challenge to raise the
Silverado Canyon 4
Unfortunately, the owners of necessary funds, these are high priority lands for the state and
“White Point” the land, including the Orange federal wildlife agencies. We look forward to making conserva-
(a poem) 4 Unified School District, made tion a reality.
plans to sell it to a developer. The law firm of Johnson and Sedlack represented EHL.
EHL in the News Tollroad rider stopped, at least for now
On December 2, 2002, in an article titled, “Dissent Growing
Over the Rancho Mission Viejo,” the Los Angeles Times reported
on the development proposed in this Orange County biodivers-
ity hotspot. The strong public support for preservation was
described and the assessment of EHL’s Dan Silver was quoted.
Remaining optimistic, he said, “I believe there’s a win-win
[solution] out there for everyone.”
On the same subject, a letter-to-the-editor from Dan was
published by the Times on December 8, 2002. It stated, in part,
“We have a unique opportunity with Rancho Mission Viejo’s
remaining 23,000 acres to protect south Orange County’s history, Sen. Barbara Boxer Sen. Dianne Feinstein Rep. Loretta Sanchez
scenic landscapes and natural treasures, and clean air and clean
water. We can preserve these last remaining special lands— Due to a con-
home to many rare plants and animals, and water sources.” certed effort by
Silver was also on live Endangered Habi-
national television (Fox tats League, Sierra
Cable News) on Decem- Club, Friends of
ber 2, 2002, defending the the Hills, and
endangered Delhi Sands others, a sordid
flower-loving fly. In re-
rider attached to
sponse to hostile ques-
© GILBERT GOODLET

federal legislation
tioning, he explained
by the Transporta- Rep. Susan Davis Bill Lockyer, Atty. Gen.
how the fly represented
a larger ecosystem whose tion Corridor
preservation would con- Agency (TCA) to push through the Foothill tollroad’s southern
tribute to the long-term extension was blocked by Senators Boxer and Feinstein,
quality of life in western Congressmembers Loretta Sanchez and Susan Davis, and Attor-
Delhi Sands flower-loving fly ney General Bill Lockyer. The Foothill tollroad would bisect the
San Bernardino County,
where remaining open space is vanishing rapidly. Unfortunately, finest remaining natural lands in Orange County and destroy
the program’s format offered little opportunity for a meaningful most of San Onofre Beach State Park. The rider would have
discussion of these complex issues. exempted the tollroad from California laws.
Back in Orange County, Silver was quoted at length in a piece We urge the TCA—which is made up of local elected offi-
by Dana Parsons on January 3, 2003. Parsons compared the cials—to operate in an open way and to respect state laws, rather
potential loss of 500 oak trees in the Saddle Crest and Saddle than utilize riders attached to unrelated legislation. We also hope
Creek developments to the “tree-sitter” occupying a single that Congressman Ken Calvert will reconsider his support for
magnificent oak tree slated for removal in Los Angeles County. this approach.
Silver noted that, compared to Los Angeles, “[Orange County]
still has a chance to do things much better.” Riverside County
Riverside Integrated Project advances

N
ews from Around
Our Southern California Ecoregion
Riverside’s momentous, $35 million Integrated Project, with
land use, transportation, and habitat components, begins hear-
ings before the Board of Supervisors in March. EHL has several
goals. First, we seek improvements in the Multiple Species
Conservation Plan to better protect several species and close
Orange County canyons under assault loopholes. Second, only acceptable and least environmentally
damaging transportation routes should be selected. Finally, the
Residents of new General Plan must achieve several key objectives in order
rural Silverado not to repeat business-as-usual sprawl. It should retain the
and Trabuco progressive features supported by stakeholders—the higher
Canyons, at the density and livable “community centers” and the innovative
base of the Santa “Transit Oasis” framework for non-automotive mobility. It
Ana Mountains, should also preserve rural areas from inappropriate residential
worked long and development, and should safeguard against future, piecemeal
hard to put a good amendments.
community plan To these ends, EHL and its consultants have submitted exten-
in place. Unfortu- sive comments and will participate in the hearing
nately, County process. We will also continue to fund an outreach
government has specialist to educate the public and local businesses
supported devel- of the value of the community centers. However,
opers in gutting the project’s leader, Supervisor Tom Mullen, retired
the plan through from office at the end of last year. Unless other
major, piecemeal, Board Members pick up his vision and commitment,
Tom Mullen this vital effort could falter.
land use amend-
ments. San Diego County
© J. WILLIAMS

EHL has once


again been forced Regional Comprehensive Plan at SANDAG
to litigate the ill- Over the next year, the San Diego Association of Govern-
conceived Saddle- ments (SANDAG) is undertaking to create a Regional Compre-
back Meadows Trabuco Canyon is still largely rural and unspoiled. hensive Plan. The plan ultimately may provide an umbrella for
Residents are fighting hard to keep it that way.
project—a previ- regional transportation objectives and priorities and work to
ous approval for this development was thrown out by the courts. integrate land use and transportation planning.
Of greatest concern to us is the obstruction of a critical wildlife One concept is to take the power of the purse—SANDAG
corridor between central and southern Orange County. We are allocates and prioritizes transportation dollars throughout the
co-plaintiffs with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, region. Currently SANDAG uses only its “bully pulpit;” they
whose tranquil monastery would be severely impacted by the could create economic incentives for the Smart Growth objectives
project, and with Sea and Sage Audubon Society. Conner, Blake they have championed. Looking ahead and listening to the
and Griffin are representing us. We will also oppose the nearby people who experience the current quality of life everyday is
Saddle Crest and Saddle Creek projects which, through major key to responding to public priorities and making this “the
grading, would take out hundreds of oak trees. These luxury people’s plan.” First up on the schedule are regional roundtables
housing projects are strongly and actively opposed by the for local officials and the public. These meetings will help both
local community. groups to become informed and weigh in on this plan.

SANDAG invites all San Diego County residents to lay the
foundation for the region’s future by providing input on the Gifts That Honor or Thank
Regional Comprehensive Plan at one of six upcoming public
workshops planned for January, February and March. Attendees
a Friend or Loved One
can participate in problem solving exercises involving issues
pertinent to the San Diego region: the housing crisis, planning Endangered Habitats League
and land use, the environment, transportation issues, and the is pleased to receive gifts that:
regional vision. ✔ Honor someone on a special occasion such
The creative outcomes of these public meetings will be used as a birthday, anniversary or graduation
to formulate the Regional Comprehensive Plan. By participating ✔ Memorialize someone who died
in the process, residents can expect a Regional Comprehensive ✔ Just say “Thank you!” to a friend or loved one.
Plan that will strengthen the integration of local and regional
plans for land use, transportation systems, and infrastructure Following your instructions, EHL will send a
needs and foster coordination of our plans with Southern beautiful acknowledgement card to the person
California and the Northern Baja California region. honored or to the family of the deceased.
Please fill out the form below and
Regional Comprehensive Plan mail it with your donation. Please print.
Roundtable Schedule
I/we are enclosing a special gift in the amount of
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
unless otherwise noted below $______________________________
El Cajon Community and Senior Center In Honor of
Wednesday, February 19 __________________________________________________________
Encinitas Community Center In Memory of
Thursday, February 20
____________________________________________________________
Southwestern Community College To celebrate her/his/their
Student Union East
Wednesday, February 26 _________________________________________________
To Thank
City of San Diego City Hall
Council Chambers _________________________________________________
Wednesday, February 26
Send the acknowledgement card to
2 to 3:30 p.m.
_________________________________________________
San Marcos Community Center
Monday, March 10 Address 1

Address 2
RSVPs are requested. To RSVP, or for more information,
please call (619) 595-5316, visit www.sandag.org/rcp, or e-mail City/State/Zip
rcp@sandag.org
Conservation-minded people need to attend and so that their
call for more open space and parks, more transit and less subur- Indicate on the acknowledgement
ban sprawl into our rural agriculture lands are heard as people card that this gift is being made by:
discuss what they want for San Diego in the next century. EHL’s Your Name (s)
Lynne Baker was named to the Stakeholders Working Group and
will be working with other stakeholders to focus on a few key
quality-of-life objectives that can be accomplished within the
Address 1
ambitious agenda and short time frame.
Email her at lynnebaker@cox.net to weigh in, ask questions, Address 2
and learn how you can participate further to help make this a
plan full of what we value. City/State/Zip
SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS PLEASE ATTEND! Home phone Fax

Los Angeles County Office phone Fax


E-mail
The Palos Verdes Natural Community Conservation Plan, or
NCCP, continues to languish. Although there has been basic Endangered Habitats League
agreement as to the configuration of the eventual habitat reserve 8424-A Santa Monica Blvd., #592
for some time, issues relating to a critical habitat corridor and Los Angeles, CA 90069-4267
funding remain to be resolved. On the positive side, the NCCP
preserve will preserve most of the remaining open space in the

canyons and on the peninsula’s hillsides. However, the cost of


land is very high, as is to be expected in an affluent suburban
community—especially for property with choice views, however
“unbuildable” it may be. Substantial local funding appears EHL seeks a Project Manager for the
available, but whether the balance can be found remains Inland Empire. Please let us know of
unknown. candidates with skills in habitat planning,
One of the most heartening land use planning developments
in recent years is the adoption by the Los Angeles County land use, and transportation (send infor-
Department of Public Works of a policy to deal with water mation to: dsilverla@earthlink.net).
movement from a watershed-wide perspective. No longer is
This story continues on page 4

The Endangered Habitats Dan Silver ........ Board Member & Executive Director Pete DeSimone .... Board Member
League is a non-profit organi- Jack Bath ........... Board Member & Secretary Karen Messer ....... Board Member
zation. All contributions are
Michael Beck ... Board Member & San Diego Director Jess Morton .......... Board Member & Treasurer
tax-deductible to the full extent
allowed by law. Jane Block ......... Board Member Lynne Baker ......... San Diego Project Manager
News of the Southern California Ecoregion
White Point
Palos Verdes plan (continued from page 3) We drove where
flood control a process of moving rainwater and effluent from the the spa had been,
mountains and urban landscape to the sea as rapidly as possible. leaving the locked car
Instead, the County—as are other southern California jurisdictions— on the new black top
is working to integrate elements of water quality, conservation and of the parking lot
reuse, habitat enhancement, public education and community needs beside the sleepy sea.
into programs that improve all beneficial uses of water across entire
watersheds. Before the war, she said,
This change is promoting the growth of collaborative efforts that we ran under these bluffs
bring together environmental, industrial, governmental and regula- playing children’s games;
tory groups to solve problems. There are already some impressive splashed water at one another
results from these efforts, including substantial progress toward the in the sweet, soft lap
development of open space/park chains along the Los Angeles and of the cleansing sea.
San Gabriel Rivers.
In the South Bay, EHL is involved in an effort to solve especially Our parents watched us
thorny issues in the most heavily urban-industrial watershed in from the shaded veranda
southern California. Despite the unpromising nature of the existing of the Japanese hotel.
landscape, the potential benefits appear very great, and the result Don’t you recall
should be a model for other urban watersheds to draw upon. how the mineral baths were—
before the earthquake?
Cougar killed in Silverado Canyon Perhaps the sun remembers them.
From a story by Janet Wilson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer And how the sea,
A mountain lion (cougar) its wind-thrown waves thundering,
was shot recently in Silverado came into the cliffs
Canyon, a steep and narrow, like the sound of heartbreak
historic mining community thudding at our feet.
in the Santa Ana Mountains.
The cougar was a young, But look. Children still play here,
healthy female weighing 102 running over the stones,
pounds, said Lt. Angel Raton, splashing and joyous in the salt pools
a Fish and Game officer who of the hotel’s shelled footings
participated in a necropsy of where sea anemone and limpets
© ELIZABETH ROBINSON

the animal. cling to dead men’s dreams.


“She was quite fat for her
size,” he said. “That’s prime Untroubled, these bright children
mountain lion habitat there, who view only this face of the sea;
because of the slope, and the their present earth not bound
fact that there’s deer and rab- by the concrete’s transience

© NEW DEAL NETWORK


bits everywhere.” Raton said lapped by afternoon sunshine
there was a good chance that a yearlong drought … had driven on the locked soul of our world.
smaller prey down to settled areas.
For a decade the California Department of Fish and Game has Jess Morton
overseen a state program … to protect mountain lions, including
the fast-dwindling cougar population in Southern California.

Endangered Habitats League


8424-A Santa Monica Blvd., #592
Los Angeles, CA 90069-4267